Too soon for meningococcal B vaccine on PBS

Community pressure to include the meningococcal B vaccine on the PBS is premature, experts say.

The vaccine has been making headlines after a rise in the number of cases of the currently unfunded emergent strain across the country.

In South Australia, Health Minister Jack Snelling has launched an online petition for Bexsero, a vaccine for the B strain, to be included on the PBS.

He called on the federal government “to urgently add this lifesaving vaccine to the PBS”, saying it was unfair the $500 regimen was unavailable to people who could not afford it.

“They must subsidise the vaccine to prevent unnecessary deaths and heartache,” he said.

But the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee has already rejected submissions from manufacturer, in 2013, 2014 and 2015, and the AMA is in support of the decision until the vaccine is proven more cost-effective.

Professor Peter Collignon, infectious diseases physician and microbiologist at the Australian National University, agreed that Bexsero’s cost-benefit ratio did not warrant it receiving PBS status on the current evidence.

“Vaccinating people with vaccines that work is a great idea – and by vaccines that work I mean ones that work 90% plus,” he said.

“But we need to be careful that if we are spending huge amounts of money, firstly that the vaccines are very effective, but also that they remain very effective.” …Read More>>

Source: Medical Republic

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